Avery Historical Museum; History in the Balance

Museum visitors

6,000 Years of History 

This private museum houses probably the finest collection of weighing artefacts in the world. Here, visitors can trace the development of weighing over 6,000 years, from its origins in Ancient Egypt during time of the early Pharaohs.

 

Gates to soho foundryHistoric Site

The museum is located at the Avery Weigh-Tronix headquarters, close to Birmingham city centre, England. The site itself is an historic one. Known for more than 200 years as Soho Foundry, it was originally established by Birmingham's three most famous industrial pioneers - Matthew Boulton, James Watt and William Murdock - to build commercial steam engines at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

A Wealth Of Information In A Unique Museum

Akan weights from West Africa

The Avery Historical Museum was opened in 1927, on the authority of the then managing director Sir Gilbert Vyle KBE. By then the Avery business had been in existence for more than 200 years.

Coin weigherMr W A Benton was appointed the first Museum Curator, and he built up the exhibits into a formidable collection representing many weights and scale manufacturers - not just Avery.

Working models of ancient weighing machines were constructed under Mr Benton's supervision, including two self-indicating scales taken from 15th Century designs of Leonardo da Vinci.

Technical Library

In 1929, an offshoot to the museum was formed, the Avery Technical and Commercial Library, with one of the most extensive collections of books in existence on the history of weighing. Thanks to this invaluable library facility, the museum today has a reputation worldwide for its amazing response to enquiries on all aspects of weighing.

The Museum today

Curator Andrew Lound welcomes visitors regularly from all parts of the globe, sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience with hundreds of correspondents, historians and occasionally the TV and media too.

Says Andrew: 'The Avery Historical Museum is a member of the International Society of Scale Collectors. The society was set up in 1978 and members obtain information on old weighing machines from our large collection of product catalogues that go back to 1830.

'We are still adding to the collection with exhibits from all parts of the world. Over the last two years, several interesting scales have been acquired for the museum, such as the fine collection of beam scales from old shops dating back to last century.

'We are especially proud of our Jockey Scale - one of a pair originally installed at Newbury in 1905. Howard Green lovingly restored both scales and the other set is to be seen reinstated as a feature in the Main Grandstand at Newbury Race Course.'